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  • Writer's picturePreston Morris

How to Reduce Student Loan Payments

A deferment or forbearance allows you to temporarily stop making your federal student loan payments or temporarily reduce your monthly payment amount. This may help you avoid default.

How can I make my student loan payment less?

  1. Apply for an income-driven repayment plan.

  2. Sign up for a graduated repayment plan.

  3. Consider an extended repayment plan.

  4. Consolidate your loans.

  5. Move to another state.

  6. Enroll in automatic payments.

  7. Get help from your employer.

  8. Refinance your student loans.

Can you negotiate student loan payments?

If your loans are in default and you have a chunk of cash saved up, your lender might be willing to negotiate a settlement agreement with you. It's a good idea if you're behind on your debt and can pay off a good portion of it right away. The amount of money you may be able to save will vary according to your lender.

Will student loans be forgiven after 20 years?

Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven't repaid your loan in full after 20 years (if all loans were taken out for undergraduate study) or 25 years (if any loans were taken out for graduate or professional study).

Is student loan refinancing worth it?

You can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars throughout the life of your loan by refinancing. There are three main benefits to refinancing student loans: You can get a lower monthly payment, freeing up cash for other expenses. You can pay off your loan faster, saving you money in interest.

Consolidate your federal loans

Federal loan consolidation lets you combine all of your government loans into a single bill. It won’t result in a lower interest rate, but it could extend your repayment term. Depending on your total debt, terms can range from 10 to 30 years. With a longer term, your monthly payments will be lower. However, a longer term also means you’ll pay more interest over time.

This strategic move is only available to federal student loan borrowers. If you have private student loans, consider refinancing.

Ask for a temporary payment decrease

Temporarily reducing your payments can help you stay on track and avoid default, but you’ll have to ask for it.

Federal loan servicers don’t lower your payment temporarily — they only offer long-term options like income-driven repayment. But your private lender could modify your loan by reducing your monthly payment or interest rate for a short period of time.

Contact your private lender to find out what short-term payment modification options they offer and the process to get started. You might have to prove financial hardship, for example.

Other student loan repayment options

If income-based repayment, extending your repayment term, and/or refinancing for a lower interest rate don't lower your monthly payments enough, there are other options you can explore. While these aren't guaranteed, depending on the type of loan you have they're worth exploring. The alternative student loan repayment options for you include:

  • Deferment

  • Forbearance

  • ​Forgiveness

  • Auto-pay Discounts

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